South East Sea Kayaking

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Mark R
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South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Mark R » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:35 pm

In a few weeks' time, weather allowing, we're going to head to the east coast between the Wash and the Thames estuary for some paddling and general exploring. Among other reasons, we're going because we've never been there in our entire lives, and because we refuse to believe that this section of coast is without merit in terms of scenery, wildlife or maritime culture.

We know of Orford Ness and have a few other vague ideas of where to walk/paddle. Any suggestions or recommendations?

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by snapper » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:58 pm

Hmm, North Norfolk is quite attractive, they'vre got cliffs and stuff there. Gorleston-Kessingland (my usual area) is a bit bland but pleasant enough to paddle anyway. Pretty strong tides and a fair few banks.

Plenty of Seals around Sea Palling, they breed in winter so there are juveniles on the beach now...the odd porpoise about...maritime culture includes beardheads fishing from SOT's in the Hopton area, trawlermen reminiscing into pints and inshore fishermen whining about quotas over cans of Special Brew. Seashore fauna includes the afroementioned seals and beach anglers whining into their cup-a-soup about the lack of cod because the Beardheads have eaten them all (we're the new Spaniards).

If you're really lucky you may see some proper sea kayakers. I did twice in the last four years. They were way inshore of me though so not sure if they were related to each other like most locals or whether they were tourists.

Dunwich is quite nice (Dunwich Heath/Forest is a popular walking place) , Covehithe as well but both of these i've only seen from the shore. Dunwich is good for grub and a decent pub is near the beach. Used to be a fish and chips place on the ebach that may still be there, that used to be quite good. Southwold is nice if you're into the 'Henley-on-Sea' type of poncey stuff. Orford I must paddle one of these days, especially around Shingle Street (German invasion and all that). Oh, there's Minsmere nature reserve too. That's an RSPB place that goes right down to the beach.

If you have to go inland due to weather there's a nice stretch upriver from Beccles to a place called Geldeston - the site of the famous Lock Inn. Good food, great local beer.

Dunno if this is of much help - if I can expand on anything there then do ask and I'll try to help.
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by GrahamKing » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:27 am

Remember to explore the estuary inside Blakeney Point (bird reserve) - a very beautiful spot, and much more sheltered than the rest of this coast. If you fancy an inland paddle, the Broads system is accessible via a longish (ie you'll need a trolley) portage from Horsey Gap to the windmill creek at Horsey Mere, and also from Lowestoft harbour to Oulton Broad. Gt. Yarmouth harbour is not recommended (strong tidal streams and much commercial traffic in a confined space). If I remember correctly, a BCU licence covers your boat for the Broads.

Further south, Harwich harbour and the estuaries of the Orwell and Stour provide scenery and shelter. Just round the corner are Walton backwaters, the setting of Swallows and Amazons. Mersey island and Brightlingsea are old stomping grounds of mine, and if the Bradwell nuclear power station is still operational after all these years then you'll find the sea there is nice and warm for swimming... Osea island on the Blackwater is very pretty.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Peter M » Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:13 am

I’d agree that North Norfolk Hunstanton to Cromar is definitely worth a look, If you have the time visit Burnham creek. Is there a correct geological name for water behind a sandbar? A visit to Blakeney pit, the seal colony and the old life boat station is a must. I haven’t paddled the section from Cromar around to Orfordness so can’t really comment.

South of Orford the Deden estuary is a pleasant foul weather paddle, the main points of interest being the river bar at the mouth if you get the tides wrong/right, (about an hour after local high water is best) and the waterside pubs further upstream. From Felixstowe to Clacton is fairly standard seaside stuff, the eroding fossil cliffs and very early low tide quarry remains at Walton are worth a mention. As are the red seals in the backwaters.

The Blackwater, Maldon and St Peters, built in ad 654 are worth a visit. Although a bit industrialised now, sea salt has been refined at Maldon continuously since pre roman times. The Dengie peninsula is very remote and very shallow, I have been a mile and a half out in only a foot of water but over a considerable depth of all swallowing mud. Although the yachty haven of Burnham is pleasant, the outer reaches of the Crouch, in my opinion, are not. The extent of the sandbanks around the mouth of the crouch at low water though, are something else. Some have a reputation as ship swallowers.

We don’t do soaring cliffs and sea caves but we do, wide open spaces loads of wading birds, occasionally clouds of them, and a surprising remoteness and serenity. I have paddled the Dorset and south coast several times and have always been taken aback by the amount of traffic and other Kayakers that I have met. In four years of regular paddling around Essex I can count on one hand the number of times I have met anyone else. A recent prickly intrusion is the addition of multiple wind turbines. A necessary evil I guess.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Jim » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:21 am

Peter M wrote:Is there a correct geological name for water behind a sandbar?
I don't know but they call them 'Marine Lakes' on the Wirral, well maybe not plural because I think there is only one. The other silted up before my time, although I've met people who remember when 'all this was water.....' If it hadn't silted up I would have no reason to go there.

The sandbars that form the marine lakes are covered at high tide.

Isn't there a place in Devon where the Americans trained for D-Day that has a permanent salt water lake behind the beach?
Also the fleets behind Chesil beach are quite similar, although linked to the sea at the Portland end.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by SeaDoug » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:42 am

Protected water behind sandbar or reef is usually called a "lagoon" - and you can imagine you are paddling in the South Sea Islands.....
I would recommend that you dont come paddling around Norfolk and Suffolk - there is nothing there for you (especially if you intend to write a Guide....). Its too quiet and remote, in a crowded part of our island (GB). Listen on the VHF to fishermen talking about you (if you can understand them) as you paddle past, and you will know what I mean - paddlers less common than the Greater Spotted Gull.
We meet other kayakers in remote spots off Wales and west Scotland, but very seldom along the boring east coast of England!
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by rockhopper » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:39 pm

Shame that you are looking to come in the next couple of weeks. Whilst the Essex estuaries are fabulous places to explore and packed full of birdlife in particular they can be a bit bleak over the Winter months. My favourite time is from late spring through to the end of Autumn. There is something very special about gliding through some of the estuaries and backwaters on glass smooth waters with just the sound of insects, skylarks and the spash of the occasional fish startled by the approach of the kayak...very Swallows and Amazons...
Lots of seals too (and I know you have a bit of a thing about seals!!).
As Peter suggested, I would give the River Crouch a miss.. not very inspiring. The Blackwater on the other hand is a gem as are most of the other river/estuaries up that coast.
Personally I find the coast after Aldeburgh and up to Cromer as bit....same'y... a bit like Chesil beach.. okay for a while but then you start to crave something different to break the monotony.

Rog.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by GrahamKing » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:47 pm

Peter M wrote:...a considerable depth of all swallowing mud.
Ah yes, the mud. There's quite a bit of mud. The rivers and estuaries are rather muddy at low water. The mud flats have plenty of, well you get the idea. Did we mention mud?

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by twicezero » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:09 am

a friend of the club put this short guide together: http://towerhamletscanoeclub.co.uk/wiki/SeaAccess

Its got a little mashed since our move to a new web server, but the information should still be readable. Let me know if it not readable, or if its useful.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by joyjohn » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:57 pm

Jim wrote
"Isn't there a place in Devon where the Americans trained for D-Day that has a permanent salt water lake behind the beach?"
This is Slapton Ley. It is a freshwater lake separated from the sea by a pebble/sand ridge.
It is a National Nature Reserve - would not recommend paddling on it!
Jim wrote
I don't know but they call them 'Marine Lakes' on the Wirral, well maybe not plural because I think there is only one.
There is a Marine Lake at West Kirby and is large enough to hold dinghy racing on, It is pretty big and is an area surrounded by a concrete wall that gets topped up by each high tide. If you are ever paddling in the area then it is worth noting that the concrete wall does not have any navigation marks on it and is only just below the water surface on an average tide.
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by snapper » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:18 pm

Here, it's quite a fun paddle from Gorleston beach (free parking close to the beach) down to Lowestoft south beach (free parking close to the beach) at night as it starts to flood in a reasonable easterly with a bit of swell running. We did it last night, a small bit of surf to get through then a couple of foot of swell down to Hopton (quite interesting around the wreck of the White Swan as it was low water (parts of it visible in daylight) due to the uneven ground etc there. Down to Hopton there are a couple of interesting patches where some wrecks/debris lie then once clear of Hopton the sea wall reflects the swell (you can hear the crash of the waves on the sea wall) and it's really confused here - 1/4 mile out you have waves coming the wrong way, ie FROM the beach. It stays quite lumpy down to Corton where the sea wall ends and then it's pretty much oka until you get just past Gunton and close to Ness Point (most easterly point of the UK) and the rig constuction site / harbour where you get some strong currents, some rough patches over wrecks / rocks and some really stinking patches that bounce the kayaks about a bit. Then it's around the harbour (or you can head down for a couple of miles, see some wrecks, an MTB and some historic vessels then eithe rout and across the road to Oulton Broad or back out, but take care as it's quite interesting coming through the harbour mouth with rebounding waves etc). In between the two piers we landed then went back out and played in some fun surf for an hour. We just strolled down, took us maybe an hour and a half to cover the 8.5 miles followed by an hour surfing - a prefect after-work paddle (we launched arounnd 8:45 and got out shortly before midnight).

Anyway, that's just a small stretch. from the same launch point you can continue past Lowestoft to Kesingland (free parking, quite a drag to the road though) or onwards to Southwold (ther is free parking but you need to know where to look). Gorleston-Southwold is around 20 miles or so, an easy paddle on one tide.

Mark, if you fancy doing that stretch and don't mind putting up with some plastic SOT anglers (we'll leave the rods at home) i'm sure some of us would enjoy the excuse of a launch. It IS more fun at night though.
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by JOHNF » Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:34 pm

Mark
You could try Cley or Wells on the N Norfolk coast.
Campsite at Horsey with easy path to sandy beach, 2 or 3km south is a seal colony. If you paddle near them they do the usual but you could walk down through the sand dunes and peer over with you 400mm zoom.
Do a shuttle on the N Norfolk Coast because you would not want to paddle the same bit of water twice.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Mark R » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:23 pm

Some great ideas and advice so far; the areas I'd assumed to be more interesting seem to be correct, on the whole. I hope that we get the weather to enjoy some of it.

Please keep it coming ...
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by snapper » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:29 pm

Mark are you interested in rivers too, or just the sea? The Waveney has otters (not a lot), kingfishers (quite common) herons and swans in abundance and from the Oulton Broad section up to Ellingham (say 20 miles) it's very sparsely populated.From Oulton Broad to Reedham it's a bit bland, being largely flat marshland but it has its moments. Reedham has a strong current to battle (tidal river) but i've not paddled that bit. Great Yarmouth Harbour and into Breydon Water requires care. I've not paddled it myself (doesn't interest me) but Breydon has a lot of wildfowl on it.
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by snapper » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:52 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUumwAAF3ew
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by JOHNF » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:22 pm

There is Scolt Head which is out from Burnham Overy Staithe past Gun Hill. On the right tide you can paddle round the island. There is a Bird Reserve on the end. http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/Images ... 6-1918.pdf
Also you could go and hunt for Amber that gets wash up on this coast.
The boatmen around Blakeney are friendly but will come and ask you to stay away from the seals.
The car park at the top of Blakeney is free.
As mentioned on other posts the Orford Ness loop is enjoyable.
The sea defences around N Norfolk could make it difficult to get out, have a look at some of the pictures on Google Earth as they will give you an idea of what they are like.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by PeterG » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:39 pm

'Coot Club' by Arthur Ransome should give all the navigation and tidal details you will need to enter the Broads.

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Ceegee » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:14 pm

JOHNF wrote:The boatmen around Blakeney are friendly but will come and ask you to stay away from the seals
Very true, though I don't know why they (the boatmen) get so upset. On a recent thread it was pointed out that the main reason the seals dive into the water is to check us out! I can well believe it, swarms have followed me around Blakeney Point.

IIRC the Sheringham-Hunstanton section is probably the most interesting on the East Anglian coast (apart from the Adnams brewery in Southwold) - make sure you check out the spits, bars and creeks round Blakeney, Stifkey, Wells and Burnham. It's worth crossing the Wash to Skegness, just to see the new windfarm, but the schlep up the Wash to Kings Lynn is a bit of a pain, especially if you get the tides wrong. The SW corner of the Wash (S. Lincolnshire) is largely no-go (mud).

By comparison, in Glengariff (Bantry Bay, Ireland) the boatmen can get VERY touchy if you go anywhere near THEIR seals! I'm off to sharpen my harpoons!

Steve

Edit: P.S. Some of the more interesting and picturescue sights are a mile or so inshore, e.g. Holkam Hall, Stiffkey (church scandal), Burnham Thorp (Nelson's home town) and Flemish-style Kings Lynn (birthplace of George Vancouver) etc.
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Jace » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:57 pm

Mark,

I've mailed you, but these are both from trips on the Hunstanton - Wells-Next-The Sea section of coast in Norfolk. A few good ale houses in those spots too ; )

Brancaster Bay - http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/gallery/album.asp?id=533

Thornham - http://www.canoekayak.co.uk/gallery/album.asp?id=222




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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Mark R » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:17 am

I'm currently writing up my chosen sections of the coast, most of which were in Norfolk but also some in Suffolk and Kent.

Conclusions - East Anglia is not a dead loss for sea paddling, indeed it has some quite remarkable and unique landscapes that you won't see elsewhere in Britain. A visit is recommended - especially to the North Norfolk Heritage Coast, which is something quite special. I've now spent two different weeks (plus some weekends) paddling selected sections, and will look forward to paddling it all when I finally get around to doing the east coast.

Seriously, give the obvious sea kayak destinations a miss for just one long weekend and go see; it's an interesting part of the world. I do hope that the guidebook (as and when it finally appears in print) will also help paddlers to appreciate what is out there.

Can any locals name any locations?

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by zec01 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:03 am

Oay, I am going to defend the reputation of The Crouch, The Roach and The Thames, I love the river Crouch and I have fished there and kayaked there a lot.
I worked on Foulness island firstly on Proof and experimental work and then as a fire fighter for the MOD, now obviously there are restrictions on entering this area during live fire times but weekends are usually okay.

I have seem seals on many occasions on Foulness point and the wildlife is amazing as the restricted area provides a sanctuary for them, the Crouch now has a wetland area where the old sea wall was breached and the geese should be starting to make their way here for the winter. be very careful if you cut through the south of foulness past Potton island and under the bridge to Foulness, We carried out a lot of trial where we fired at steel plate and it used to sit in piles out on the mud and was very sharp, it sits under the water and would (if still there) be a huge hazard.

I know we dont have beautiful cliffs, or stunning beaches but I believe it is a still a beautiful place to paddle and I love our estuaries (and its all I have)
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by zec01 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:09 am

The hazard is at 51°33'13.12"N 0°51'5.78"E
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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by tg » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:28 pm

I imagine you might see alot of waders this time of year. It may be a little early.

West Mersea is a good kickoff for a with tide trip up to Maldon (usually a pair of young male seals near Osea Island). Or a there and back again. Cudmore Park for a circuit of Mersea Island (usually a pair of young male seals near Osea Island). Northey Island is historically significvant but is a salt marsh. Colne Estuary is a pleaseant pub paddle from Brightlingsea to Wivenhoe. Orwell and Stour Estuaries from Harwich Beach or Shotley are routine up and downers. The Walton Backwaters can be interesting with red oxide stained seals and a little routeing around. Deben from Woodbridge and the Deben Bar (for a little fun) and of course Orford Ness and the Ore/Aude from Shingle Street up to Snape Maltings, althouh Snape's waters can be a bit 'diesely'. In North Essex (Suffolk Borders) camping at the rear of The Strangers Home in Bradfield. Not the best but okay. Have yet to paddle Southend to Mersea (Dengie Flat). I like Sea Palling and Cart Gap and Pakefield to Southwold and the Blythe Happisburgh is definitely worth a look fro the water.

Dedham Vale and Flatford Mill is a popular walk. All cream teas and buns!

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@Peter.m,

Did you mention the mud... ;-)

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Jay Oram » Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:29 pm

I've tried to read all the posts, but there is a lot of repetition, one place in Norfolk that I have spent a lot of time and really love is Wells-next-the-sea, walked and explored a lot of it.

Great place to paddle into the quay, great sea-food and a great place for crabbing.

Hope this helps,

Jay

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Mark R » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:54 pm

Jay Oram wrote:one place in Norfolk that I have spent a lot of time and really love is Wells-next-the-sea, walked and explored a lot of it.
Great place to paddle into the quay, great sea-food and a great place for crabbing.
A few of the photos above are of Wells; it is quite a place. Back in Feb 2010, I had an incredible dawn run along the waterfront and coast path whilst training for a marathon. Mile, after mile, after mile of sand, followed by mile, after mile, after mile of salt marshes, all under huge skies - I could hear and smell the sea all the time, but never actually saw it; it was always miles away.

We paddled out of Wells last week, on the last of the ebb. From Wells harbour, it took half an hour of paddling through something not unlike the Sahara, before we even saw the sea!

It's a BIG landscape...

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by mick m » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:17 pm

what are the rusting boxes on stilts ?

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Re: South East Sea Kayaking

Post by Mark R » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:31 pm

mick m wrote:what are the rusting boxes on stilts ?
http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/foru ... =4&t=76517
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